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Headlines for Monday, May 8, 2017

Here's a look at area headlines from the Associated Press

Kansas Lawmakers Mull How Much to Fund Schools 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  Kansas legislators acknowledge that they're not sure a public school funding plan they're considering would satisfy the state Supreme Court. A special House committee began Monday to debate a proposal that would phase in a $762 million increase in state aid to public schools over five years. Lawmakers are responding to a Supreme Court ruling in March that the state's education funding is inadequate. The ruling came in a lawsuit filed in 2010 by four school districts. The court gave legislators until June 30 to pass a new school finance law. House committee members said they're focused on making sure that a new law distributes state funds fairly and helps the state's lowest-performing students. An attorney for the four districts said the House panel's plan isn't adequate.

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Kansas Senate Panel OKs Bill to End Tax Break 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  A Kansas Senate committee has approved a bill that would repeal a tax break for farmers and business owners championed by Republican Governor Sam Brownback as a pro-growth policy. The Assessment and Taxation Committee's action Monday sends the measure to the Senate for debate. But the bill doesn't come close to closing projected budget shortfalls totaling $887 million through June 2019 or providing additional funds for public schools. The bill ends an exemption granted in 2012 that allows more than 330,000 farmers and business owners to avoid personal income taxes on their profits. Critics contend the policy is unfair to wage-earners. The measure is expected to raise $256 million over two years. It has bipartisan support but Democrats and GOP moderates say it's only a part of a budget fix.

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Lawyer Advises Annual Hikes in Kansas School Aid 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) —  An attorney hired by the Kansas Legislature to help members as they draft a new school finance law is encouraging them to provide for annual increases in education funding. Former state Senator Jeff King of Independence told senators Monday that he believes annual adjustments based on inflation or some other factor are "vital" to satisfying the Kansas Supreme Court. The court ruled in March that the state's education funding is inadequate and gave lawmakers until June 30 to enact a new school funding law. Legislative leaders hired King to advise them. The Senate had an informal question-and-answer session with King for 90 minutes. He also said it would be helpful for lawmakers to boost funding for pre-kindergarten programs and set up a system for monitoring how well students perform academically.

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Kansas Lawmakers at Odds over Dog Breeder Inspections 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — Some Kansas lawmakers and animal welfare advocates are holding up a bill increasing fees on pet stores, breeders and kennels in hopes that they can also pass more stringent oversight of breeders. House and Senate negotiators couldn't agree last week on a bill increasing fees and oversight. They moved forward with only the fee increase. But House members rejected that and sent the bill back to the negotiating committee. At issue is a measure to require surprise inspections of breeders, Supporters say that would help address problem breeders, or "puppy mills" that mistreat animals. Those who oppose surprise inspections say alerting breeders about an inspection ensures someone will be at the facility when inspectors arrive, but doesn't allow breeders time to hide wrongdoing.

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Noose Found Hanging at Kansas State University Campus 

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — State police are investigating the hanging of a noose at Kansas State University — another apparent racist attack on campus. The Manhattan Mercury reports that the university's Office of Institutional Equity was notified Friday that the noose was hanging from a tree near King Hall on the Manhattan campus. The department fosters inclusiveness and equal opportunity. University spokesman Jeff Morris says he doesn't know what motivated the hanging of the noose. The Kansas State Police Department has removed the noose. An anti-Semitic sign was posted on campus in April during Holocaust Remembrance Day. University President Richard Myers said the school also found signs denouncing black people. Kansas State University last year distanced itself from a photo tagged to the school's website showing two women in blackface, saying neither was enrolled as a student.

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Kansas Man Gets Life Term for Killing 7-Year-Old Son 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A Kansas man has been sentenced to life in prison for the killing of his 7-year-old son, whose remains were found in the family's pig sty after what authorities described as systematic abuse.Forty-six-year-old Michael Jones declined the judge's offer to address the court during his Wyandotte County sentencing hearing Monday related to the 2015 death of Adrian Jones. He pleaded guilty in March to first-degree murder.The boy's stepmother, Heather Jones, pleaded guilty to the same charge in November and is serving a life term. Authorities say Adrian died in September or October 2015, but his death wasn't reported. His remains were found that November after authorities responding to a domestic disturbance learned he was missing.

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Seizure of Kansas Student Newspapers Shone Light on Dispute 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The temporary seizure of newspapers at a Kansas community college last week shone a media spotlight on a long-running dispute between administrators and student journalists. Hutchinson Community College's board of trustees is expected Tuesday to wade into the controversy. That is when suspended journalism professor Alan Montgomery plans to talk to trustees about the administration's treatment of the student journalists and its alleged use of disciplinary procedures to punish them for news stories. The administration earlier this month suspended him and cancelled his classes before the end of the semester. Montgomery calls it an absolute planned conspiracy to deny these students their First Amendment rights. HCC President Carter File defended the college's actions, saying he doesn't care what is in the paper.

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Effects of Snow, Freezes on Kansas Wheat Being Assessed 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — The government's latest weekly snapshot of Kansas crops says the effects of recent snow storms and freezing temperatures are still being assessed. The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Monday that 27 percent of the winter wheat in Kansas is in poor to very poor condition. About 30 percent is in fair condition while 37 percent is in good and 6 percent in excellent condition. About 59 percent of the winter wheat crop has now headed in the state. The agency says 45 percent of the corn crop has been planted in the state so far this spring. Soybean planting is at 4 percent and sorghum planting is at 1 percent.

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Boy, 9, Dies After Being Struck by Mower in Central Kansas 

INMAN, Kan. (AP) — A 9-year-old central Kansas boy has died after falling off a tractor that was pulling a mower. The Wichita Eagle reports that Cayden Avery died Friday night after falling off a Ford tractor driven by his father, Jon Avery. The accident happened near Inman in McPherson County. The sheriff's department says the tractor was pulling a mower in a pasture. The child was on his father's lap when the tractor struck a depression in the ground, causing him to fall off. Cayden was then struck by the mower.

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Autopsy Planned After Football Player Found Dead 

KISMET, Kan. (AP) — An autopsy is planned after a junior college football player in Kansas was found dead. The Kansas City Star reports that 19-year-old Sean Callahan was found unresponsive Sunday afternoon at a home in Kismet, Kansas. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Authorities say the death is under investigation but is not currently considered suspicious. Callahan was a sophomore offensive lineman at Garden City Community College. He received an associate degree during spring commencement ceremonies on Friday.

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Wichita 'Holiday Inn' Sniper Up for Parole Again 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — A sniper who terrorized downtown Wichita more than 40 years ago is going before a parole board this month. The Wichita Eagle reports  that the case of 59-year-old Michael Soles will be among several to be considered during a May 17 meeting in Kansas City, Kansas. Soles became known as the Holiday Inn Sniper in 1976 after he carried two rifles and an ammunition-filled lunch pail to the top floor of a 26-story building that was capped by the Holiday Inn. Killed in the shooting were 23-year-old Mark Falen, 56-year-old Joe Goulart and 57-year-old Elmer Hensley. Seven others were wounded before police shot Soles. He could be freed as early as July if his latest bid for release is granted. Several others have been denied, most recently in 2007. 

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Man Found Guilty of Trying to Kill Wyandotte County Deputy 

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) — A 20-year-old man has been found guilty of trying to kill a Wyandotte County, Kansas, deputy sheriff. The Kansas City Star reports that Charles Bowser was convicted Monday of attempted capital murder, a charge that carries a life sentence. Two other men were convicted last year in the same case. Jurors also found Bowser guilty of several aggravated battery and aggravated robbery counts. Deputy Scott Wood was inside a convenience store in Kansas City, Kansas, on March 4, 2015, when three armed robbers jumped him and took his gun. He was shot multiple times but was able to radio for help before being shot in the face. He survived. Prosecutors say the three men committed a string of robberies in Kansas and Missouri before the attack on Wood.

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Slain Kansas Boy's Grandmother Seeks Tougher Home School Rules 

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) — The grandmother of a 7-year-old boy who was killed in Kansas City, Kansas, in 2015 is pushing for tougher regulations of home schools in the state. Adrian Jones was supposed to be getting schooling at home from the father and stepmother who are now headed to prison for his death. Kansas does little to regulate home schools beyond requiring parents to register them. The boy's grandmother Judy Conway has contacted legislators about his case and asked them to consider tougher rules for home schools. But that's a tough sell because of the Legislature's wariness of stepping on parental rights or what goes on in homes. Conway said she's determined to make sure vulnerable children who are home schooled have some contact with people outside their homes.

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Kansas​ Man Wounded by Sheriff's Deputies During Domestic Dispute 

LABETTE COUNTY, Kan. (AP) — Authorities are investigating what led to a 40-year-old man being shot during a confrontation with Labette County Sheriff's deputies. The Kansas Bureau of Investigation is reviewing that incident that happened in Mound Valley Saturday night. Authorities say two deputies were called to a home because of a domestic incident where a 77-year-old man was wounded. When they arrived, another man was standing in the driveway with a gun. The KBI says it appears that both deputies fired at the man and wounded him. He was taken to a hospital in Joplin, Missouri. The 77-year-old victim was also hospitalized. Both were reported to be in stable condition Sunday.

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Police Kill Bull After Escape from Kansas Veterinarian

HAYS, Kan. (AP) — A bull that escaped from a Kansas veterinarian who owned it spent about 20 minutes on the loose before being shot and killed by a police officer after attempts to corral and sedate the animal failed. Police in Hays say no people were injured after the bull's escape Saturday, though two vehicles were damaged by the animal. Police say officers and volunteers tried to keep the bull outside Hays' city limits. They say the officers decided to shoot the animal as it moved toward a more-populated area and approached the business district. The veterinarian removed the bull from the scene.

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Wichita to Spend Nearly $10 Million to Prepare for NCAA Tournament 

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) — Wichita officials expect to spend as much as $10 million to prepare for hosting a weekend of NCAA tournament basketball games next spring. The Wichita Eagle reports that the city and county are planning to tackle a list of projects before the fans and basketball teams arrive. The list includes some major projects such as a $3.5 million street reconstruction project in Wichita's Old Town area and a $1.63 million upgrade to Intrust Bank Arena's north entrance. Sedgwick County Commission Chairman David Unruh says hosting the tournament offered the perfect opportunity to expand the north entrance to the arena. The county will also spend $385,000 to upgrade the wireless internet system at the arena.

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Pedestrian Killed on Kansas City Interstate

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Authorities in Kansas City, Missouri, are investigating the death of a pedestrian hit by a tractor-trailer while he tried to cross Interstate 29. Police tell WDAF-TV that the victim had bought cigarettes and a sandwich at a convenience store and was trying to make his way across the freeway about 2 a.m. Monday when he was hit. The man's name has not been released. The accident forced the closure of a stretch of I-29 for nearly four hours. The trucker was not injured.

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Southwest Kansas Man Dies in Oklahoma Crash 

FORGAN, Okla. (AP) _ Authorities say a Kansas man was killed in a head-on collision in the Oklahoma Panhandle. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says the collision happened late Sunday on U.S. 64 near Forgan, about 200 miles northwest of Oklahoma City. Authorities say 30-year-old Gustavo Marino of Liberal, Kansas, was killed when his car was struck by an oncoming SUV that had crossed the center line to pass a tractor-trailer. The SUV's driver suffered a leg injury and was taken to a Kansas hospital in stable condition. A passenger in Marino's car was treated for minor injuries and later released from the hospital. 

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Walk Marks 10-year Disappearance of Missouri Teen 

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ Walkers turned out Sunday to mark the 10-year anniversary of a teenage girl's disappearance as her family waits to learn the identity of a skull found last month in rural western Missouri. The Kansas City Star reports that the walk in Belton for Kara Kopetsky drew at least 100 people. Kopestsky was 17 on May 4, 2007, when she vanished from Belton High School. Her family was notified last month after two sets of human remains were found in Cass County. One set was identified as those of Jessica Runions, of Raymore, Missouri. She was last seen leaving a gathering with Kylr Yust, who was later charged with burning Runions' vehicle. A judge entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. Yust also has been questioned in Kopetsky's disappearance. 

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Indians Shut-Out Royals, 1-0

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The Cleveland Indians beat the Kansas City Royals 1-0 Sunday. The Indians' Carlos Santana had three hits, including an RBI single in the fifth for the game's only run. Cleveland's Mike Clevinger (1-0), making his first start in place of the injured Corey Kluber, gave up a double to Salvador Perez with one out in the fourth for a Royals hit. He walked four and struck out five in 5 2/3 innings. The Royals' starter Danny Duffy (2-3) held the Indians to one run and six hits over 6 2/3 innings.

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